Cameroon has long been viewed as a model of stability in a region fraught with conflict. Under the surface, however, tensions between its Anglophone and Francophone populations have simmered for decades. In October 2016, violence erupted in the Anlgophone North-West and South-West (NWSW) regions, and has since displaced more than 530,000 people and killed 1,800. If the government of Cameroon and international donors do not act, the humanitarian situation will rapidly deteriorate.
Refugees International’s primer for members of the 116th Congress on international humanitarian assistance provides background on the proud, bipartisan tradition of U.S. leadership in humanitarian affairs, the value of U.S. investment in humanitarian and development funding, and the humanitarian imperative of the U.S. refugee resettlement program, and outlines several key priority areas for policymakers.
Years of instability and violence in the Central African Republic have led to large-scale displacement and a desperate need for international aid. This year, more than half of the country's 4.6 million people will depend on humanitarian assistance for protection and survival. But despite the negative trendlines, there is an opportunity for progress.
Despite jubilation in Ethiopia and abroad since reformer Abiy Ahmed became prime minister in April 2018, a major humanitarian crisis has unfolded in the south of the country. The government is pressing for displaced people to return home, but their villages are still unsafe and their homes must be rebuilt. Mark Yarnell offers recommendations for mitigating the crisis.
In November, Refugees International carried out a mission to Puerto Rico to investigate the U.S. response to Hurricane Maria. Our team found the response by federal and Puerto Rican authorities was still largely uncoordinated and poorly implemented, prolonging the humanitarian emergency on the ground. Thousands of people still lack sustainable access to potable water and electricity and dry, safe places to sleep.
This Refugees International report details how Myanmar’s military - the same military responsible for ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in western Myanmar - is also responsible for severe human rights abuses and blocking of life-saving aid to a mostly Christian minority in the north of the country. A team from Refugees International was able to access a restricted area outside of government control in Myanmar’s Kachin State to document the conditions of displaced persons.
At the close of this year’s 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, Francisca Vigaud-Walsh writes that women’s bodies are often a battleground in conflict zones, and humanitarian aid areas must be a place for healing their wounds. Programs such as the U.S. initiative "Safe From the Start" are essential tools in the addressing the impacts of violence against woman and girls in conflicts.
Despite the alarming numbers of people in need, as well as the grave atrocities being carried out, the Kasai region has received very little international attention and humanitarian funding. More than 30,000 people have fled from the Kasai region into Angola, seeking protection and support, and another 1.4 million people are internally displaced. The UN estimates that roughly one million people are food insecure, including 400,000 children who are facing malnutrition. The needs are staggering
Following the liberation of Raqqa, Syria from ISIS control, Daryl Grisgraber looks at the humanitarian needs of internally displaced people and of those who remained during the conflict. The physical and logistical obstacles to providing humanitarian aid may be fewer with the end of the fighting, but in a sense aid organizations are now playing catch-up with people whom they couldn’t previously serve adequately or at all.
With so many humanitarian crises around the world, priority humanitarian and peacekeeping accounts need increased support from Congress now more than ever. This includes the Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) and the International Disaster Assistance (IDA) humanitarian accounts, along with the core peacekeeping accounts including Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) and Contributions for International Peacekeeping (CIPA).
About two years ago I secretly met with a dozen stateless Rohingya refugees in a hotel room in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. They were new arrivals from Rakhine State in Myanmar and had waded through shallow areas of the Naf River on the Bay of Bengal to escape violence and persecution. We met clandestinely because they were afraid that if they were identified as Rohingya, they would be arrested, detained, and sent back to Myanmar. Newspapers worldwide were reporting the expulsion of large numbers of Rohingya, and the refugees knew of others who had been spotted and deported.
South Sudan is continuing to reel from internal conflict that ignited in the capital Juba a little more than a year ago and quickly spread throughout the country. On December 15th, 2013, fighting erupted in Juba between soldiers loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar and those loyal to President Salva Kiir. More than one year on the fighting continues, primarily in Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile states in the north.